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Who wants to break a bone with me
metaphorically speaking. I think.
Recently I was at a housewarming party with my mom & our family friends when the conversation turned, somehow, to the topic of bone-breaking.
As everyone started to tell their tales about casts and crutches, I realized I was the only one in the group who didn’t have anything to contribute. Unless you count the time I fell off a bed at a bachelorette party onto an upside down stiletto heel and couldn’t quite sit right on my tailbone for six months, I’ve never broken anything.
You could call that lucky. But I don’t think that’s what it is.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about avoidance. Avoidance of conflict, avoidance of risk — avoidance of pretty much anything where there is potential for getting hurt, physically or otherwise. This tendency to avoid has gotten me into a host of less than ideal situations both professionally and personally, saying yes to under-paying gigs or events I don’t actually want to go to (which may sound familiar to you if you’re a people pleaser who is uncomfortable making others uncomfortable).
Until a recent therapy session, I really didn’t think about myself as being avoidant. I love to talk! Look at how much I’m talking right here in this newsletter! But talking and communicating are not the same skill. I have a really hard time communicating to people — people I love and trust and feel close to! — when something is bothering me. I have foregone my own self-protection and boundaries in favor of making sure everyone else is okay. I have a hard time being vulnerable on dates. It’s part of the reason I got into debt, and it’s a large part of the work I am doing in therapy. Now I just have a word for it.
After I ran the New York City marathon in 2018 I was high. But also, a little conflicted. Had I always been athletic? Why hadn’t I pushed myself to try things that I might not be good at off the bat until this very difficult and rewarding achievement? Avoidance of potential failure?
Something I’m not afraid of? An excuse to share this photo.
I haven’t dodged skeletal and self-esteem shattering because I’m just too good at everything. I’ve avoided them because I’ve avoided taking risks. I’m fearful and as a result, (sometimes) too careful.
I’m determined to stop being afraid and start breaking some metaphorical bones. To start putting myself out there in creative pursuits, in romantic pursuits, in athletic pursuits. I want to stop worrying about what may or may not happen and go back to a time where I just wanted to, well, fuck around and find out.
Recently, I started swimming laps at the gym. And I am bad at it. Really bad. I’m constantly getting in the way of faster, more experienced swimmers. I’ve befriended the lifeguard who I ask regularly to assure me that no, I’m not in everyone’s way. (I am). I can’t really breathe that well underwater and I have to stop a lot. I watch YouTube videos of people swimming freestyle and practicing flip turns. I am really bad at it. I am trying to feel like that’s a good thing. It’s (kind of) working!
In an attempt to dive in to other ways I’ve avoided pushing myself (hehe), I made myself a September challenge list. I know it’s still August and I am the last person who would ever rush fall, but I am counting September as the “month” — anything I do before then counts as a bonus.
Write (at least) one page every day
Go on just one date. Just one!! You can go on just one. Come on.
Go to one event where I don’t know anyone
10 pages of reading every day
swim 3x week
weights 2x week — using a plan Leigh made me (check her out!)
Sign up for a half marathon or other race
Some of it seems too light (one page?) some of it seems too drastic (5x a week workouts? A DATE? Help.) And this is all on top of the budget challenge I’ve tried to stick to this month, and in the months to come, too. (I bought one pair of $20 sunglasses in August, but otherwise have abstained from shopping since the end of June).
In any event, let me know if you want in. Or let me know if you have other challenges you want to do, too! Let’s do more scary shit, people!!!!
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